In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Immigration on Video | Main | StoryMill On Sale »

April 29, 2008

Chick Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Polly Frost tells Dark Party Review that she thinks of "Dangerous Liaisons" as excellent erotic fiction.

* More Bellucci gorgeousness.

* Alias Clio has some tips for da dudez. Ian, Thursday, Peter, and PA offer disagreements, as well as tips of their own.

* Postmodern burlesque queen Dita van Teese once made a sex tape. (NSFW)

* Thousands of aging British women travel overseas every year looking for sex with young foreign men. Not all of these liaisons work out well.

* Gwynnie loves gyro.

* Johanna Soderlund thinks that a lot of people might benefit from reducing the quantity of carbs they eat.



posted by Michael at April 29, 2008


I agree with you about "telling" versus "showing", but strangely enough, I prefer that technique in fiction. When you're trying to narrate a complicated piece of history, "showing" can be a useful way of setting the scene and helping people to visualize what may be a very foreign time and place.

I suspect that the difference in historical writing between Britain and North America that you describe is more a function of the types of people who write history here and there, rather than any national or regional preferences. There are very few historians in the US who are not academics - you guys worship credentials. Those who are not are journalists who imitate academics.

Britain, on the other hand, has a long tradition of non-university based, popular historical writing. The latter group is less subject to academic fads - a serious problem in the universities because grant money depends on the successful interpretation of fads. No doubt the British academics who want to reach a wide audience try to emulate their popular brethren and are thus less vulnerable to fads too.

And the current vogue for "showing" by academic historians is very much a fad, following on the heels of the exact opposite trend in the 1970s and much of the 1980s, when everything was "tell" (statistics and generalizations) and nothing was "show".

Not sure how clear I've been above. Thanks for the link. That was an exhausting exchange of comments...

Posted by: alias clio on April 29, 2008 12:31 AM

Belucci's only got one face. She needs to move her mouth a few micrometers every once in a while.

Posted by: James on April 29, 2008 3:56 AM

"Dangerous Liaisons" was released on Dec. 16, 1988 and Uma Thurman -- who co-stars and appears topless -- was born April 29, 1970. So, taking into account post-production time, odds are the film features an underage, topless Thurman.

Wonder if Chris Hansen monitors who rents the film.

Posted by: Days of Broken Arrows on April 29, 2008 6:45 AM

As a result of my reading, years ago, of Warren Farrell's books, and my abortive involvement in men's issues, I can't help but notice...

These stories about North American and European white women traveling to third world countries to employ poor men as prostitutes sure have a different tenor than stories about men traveling to third world countries to employ poor women as prostitutes.

When the subject is women employing prostitutes, we worry about the emotional distress our poor dear women may experience, and the possibility that they might contract VD.

When the subject is men employing prostitutes, we worry about colonial exploitation of the indigent and underage, and the possibility that poor women might suffer emotional and psychological damage as a result.

I read an essay not to long ago, perhaps as a link from this site, about how we all... men and women... like women better and view them as sympathetic objects. It's true. You can't go wrong in this world by castigating men. It's a sport that both men and women enjoy, and it's always a source of profit.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on April 29, 2008 12:23 PM

Shouting Thomas, you have a point. But the POV you mention is only in modern day Western culture. It wasn't always this way. Nor is it this way in other parts of the globe.

Also, the men's movement isn't so bad; dunno why you'd "abort" your interest in it.

Posted by: Days of Broken Arrows on April 29, 2008 12:57 PM

Shouting Thomas, you have the most extraordinary way of working the man/woman issue to the advantage of your favourite lamentation, which is that men are always and everywhere misunderstood and mistreated.

This is especially true when it comes to your take on essential differences between the sexes: you believe in them, you think other people (feminists, leftists) are fools for not believing in them...yet when you make an argument like this, you act disingenuously surprised that some other people actually share your belief that men and women were indeed different.

Women are more likely to deceive themselves that they are in love in relationships like those described in the article. That's one of the essential differences between the sexes; that's why they receive more emotional sympathy than their male counterparts in stories like this.

Gigolos are unlikely to engage in any such self-deceptions. They have several other advantages over the women they pick up: they are stronger and can injure them physically if the women offend their sense of honour in some way. What's more, the men may be considerably younger than these women, but they are not children: not 10 or 12 or 14 years old.

On the other hand, First World men who go abroad as sex tourists quite often take up with children. Even when the female prostitutes are fully grown, they are often at the mercy of madams or pimps who beat them. Many were sold as sex slaves by their own parents. None of these themes seem to be common in the stories of the young gigolos in this piece. (On the other hand, the boys who work for gay brothels might be in the same position as their female counterparts.)

I daresay that there are many female prostitutes who make the best of it, or who prefer their lives to backbreaking labour in the fields, but that doesn't really say much for where they came from or for where they end up. To say that their situation is comparable to that of "gigolos" in poor countries is silly. The young Turkish man in the story was clearly making a small fortune (which he may or may not have used to feed his family), and not paying it to any third party. And I don't doubt that he was physically stronger than most of his rather elderly female clients.

Once and for all, many or most of us who are women do not hate men or find them unlikeable. If we want to kick their behinds occasionally, that's another matter. It's not as if they don't feel the same way about us from time to time.

Posted by: alias clio on April 29, 2008 1:21 PM

Well, even though Clio makes some fine points, I still see this all the time:

Man: "I prefer having sex with young, attractive women" Reaction: Pervert!

Woman: "I prefer having sex with young, attractive men" Reaction: You go Girl!

Posted by: Ian Lewis on April 29, 2008 3:23 PM

Broken Arrows,

I've met Warren Farrell on several occasions, and I genuinely like him. He's a nice man.

I aborted my involvement in men's issues because, while I agree with Farrell's diagnoses, I don't agree with his prescription. I view that prescription as something along the lines of "feminism for men." Perhaps Warren sees it in another light. I am a traditionalist. While I was involved in men's issues, I found myself reviled by both sides... the feminists and the men's issues guys. The old ways, individualism, chivalry, etc... both sides took a dim look at my values, including especially my involvement in old fashioned Christianity.

alias clio, you make some very perceptive points. Yes, I do agree that men and women are different, and I think that those differences should be honored.

I'd quibble with a couple of your points. Whether women are more likely to deceive themselves about sexual relationships, or whether they use this purported self-deception as a weapon against men is something that most men spend some time thinking about. For myself, I'm more inclined to call this sanctimony.

The problem men now face is that we have been dethroned from the position of honor as breadwinners, head of family and protectors, but those virtues are still demanded of us and we are denounced as bums if we don't measure up. This is the worst possible outcome. Farrell quite accurate says that men liberated women, but they didn't liberate themselves.

The problem with men is that, in a lot of ways, they really are hard to like. I numbered myself among those who have this problem. I wish I could direct you to the essay I recently read on this issue. Men are a pain in the ass. I deal with men in a unique way because I am a musician, and my livelihood to some extent is bound up in the behavior of other men I befriend as fellow artists..

Men all want to be boss. This is the bane of the music business. I can't even remember how many music projects I've been involved in that have been deep sixed because one of the men involved suddenly decided that, if the project didn't feature him as the boss, he would just as soon sink the whole thing into the ocean. Women sometimes share this characteristic, but on the whole women have some capacity for compromise. Men generally do not.

As for your description of the consequences of the sex trade on young men and women... well, I have some experience of that. My late wife was prostituted into that when she was very young in a way that was horrific and tortured beyond imagination. I thought that I understood what that was all about before I met her, but I discovered I didn't know anything about it.

Myrna was the most penetrating intellect and brilliant spirit I ever met. She counseled me endlessly to accept that fact that that experience formed her, that I should not be angry about it, and that she would have it no other way. She attributed her strength, determination and abilities almost entirely to that crucifixion, and thought those who didn't understand that were incredibly stupid. She thought that every one of us bears our own cross, and that, in some way, karma gives us that cross because it is the one we need to bear.

I defer to her, because I just don't know.

I'm with you, clio. I don't believe in political prescriptions. It's all individual.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on April 29, 2008 4:07 PM

Thanks for the graceful acknowledgment, ST.

I do think that women's self-deception about love is genuine, and not "sanctimony". In fact, I'm not even certain I can fairly call it self-deception: the intensity of feeling that a physical/sexual relationship releases in many women is quite real, and very hard to suppress. It's hormonal; it's oxytocin, and once it's there, it tends to linger. Perhaps you could say that it's comparable to the intensity of plain sexual hunger that men say they feel but that they swear women never understand. The difference between the sexes is that a woman's passion for a man is not satisfied by a sexual encounter, but intensified. That's women's burden.

Posted by: alias clio on April 29, 2008 5:26 PM

Men who engage in sex tourism go to the third world and insert parts of themselves into the bodies of poor women (and boys), slide those parts back and forth and then shoot fluids into those third world bodies. Sometimes diseased fluids.

Women who engage in sex tourism go to the third world and have poor guys insert body parts into them. Sometimes diseased body parts.

I know which tourists I'm worried for.

Posted by: PatrickH on April 29, 2008 8:28 PM

Oh yeah, PatrickH? Not clear from your entry.

For my part, I fail to see how one differs from the other. I don't feel much sympathy for any of the four parties in the two scenarios just described. Not that I want anyone to become diseased, but actions have consequences, and all four parties in the two scenarios described, should know what they're potentially getting themselves into. And accept whatever results from their actions.

Posted by: Will S. on April 30, 2008 12:36 AM

"Five years on and Sarah Jarvis no longer looks back on her holiday romance with rose-tinted glasses. "I must have spent more than £20,000 on Mohammed,"... Sarah adds: "More than anything, I want to send out a warning to all the British women planning a holiday romance this summer: don't do it!...It will cost you thousands of pounds, and you will end up feeling ridiculous and despised."

This is so ridiculous. $40,000 for YEARS of sex from an attractive 20 year old man who makes convincing, hungry love to a repulsive 50-60 year old woman like she was an attractive 20 year old woman IS A GREAT DEAL.

The utility of such valuable sex at such a price is much greater than other items that go for the same price - say a typical new car (and these are very rich women).

Women get to be the victims either way: A rich, powerful man (eg Eliot Spitzer) pays a marginal female thousands of dollars for sex, and the female is the victim. A rich, powerful female pays a marginal male thousands of dollars for sex, and the female is the victim.

Posted by: Rain And on April 30, 2008 12:24 PM

Will, I didn't say that I sympathized with either the men or women sex tourists, only that one of the two groups was taking a much bigger chance than the other. And obviously, I meant the women.

Posted by: PatrickH on April 30, 2008 1:55 PM

Ah, okay; thanks for the clarification. BTW, I didn't think you sympathized, per se, but in my case, if I feel little sympathy for someone or some group, I tend to worry little about his/her/their fate, cold and harsh as that may seem.

Posted by: Will S. on April 30, 2008 6:41 PM

Flabby old women who go to a third world country and start having sex with dark, handsome waiters 30 years their junior, then discover that they are being played for marks, are nothing but fools. No amount of oxytocin is sufficient to explain away something so enormously dumb. I'm 43 and a relatively average looking guy (6'2", white, 200 pounds). If I were to go to some third world country and have a hot 18-year-old waitress give me the eye, I would immediately check to make sure my wallet hadn't been stolen and would assume the girl was hoping to extract some money from me. Even if I thought she were interested in sex, I'd be worried about having some muscle-bound goons follow us, break my hotel door in, and rob or kill me just as I was getting my pants off.

Posted by: Laikastes on May 1, 2008 4:35 AM

I mentioned oxytocin in reference to a specific comment Shouting Thomas had made about women in general, and their (our) capacity for self-deception in affairs of the heart. I was not referring to the original link to the story about older women who travel abroad to become involved with much younger men.

I feel a little sympathy for them because I always have some for human folly, male or female (we're all fools at some time or other), but I certainly wasn't trying to excuse it - the folly - on the grounds of oxytocin intoxication. At their age, they should know enough be wary of the hormone trap.

Posted by: alias clio on May 1, 2008 11:04 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?